About the author

Jessie Tu

About the book

Judges' report

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing is fresh, contemporary and bold and has been crafted with verve by its first-time author, Jessie Tu. The novel delves into the life of an Australian artist, but not the white, male character who often frequents literature. Nor does it portray the hedonistic life of a visual artist. Instead, this novel centres on a violinist – a young, Australian-born Chinese woman. Once a child prodigy, Jena is trying for a second chance at success. She is also a woman driven by her sexual needs and a skewed sense of her own worth. 

Power dynamics, along with friendships and rivalries – both musical and personal – spike the narrative. Most of the story takes place in Sydney and New York, while Shanghai also gets a nod. It’s a heady mix: the descriptions of her musical practice and the pressures of performing are illuminating, while her risk-taking and intimate relationships are writ uncomfortable, but all too believable.

Further reading


‘With A Lonely Girl Is A Dangerous Thing, Tu has made a remarkable and strong entry into the national literary scene. ‘ Astrid Edwards, Australian Book Review

‘This is a fascinating and intense debut that challenges systemic racism and misogyny, particularly in the progressive artistic world…  Jessie Tu is an incredible new voice in Australian literature.’ Kara Nicholson, Readings

‘…a raw and illuminating book. ‘ Karen Viggers, Canberra Times


Watch ‘Claire Nichols on Jessie Tu’s Debut Novel’ via ABC Arts’ The Book Show

Listen to ‘KYD First Book Club: A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing‘ via Kill Your Darlings

Read ‘Jessie Tu: ‘I will probably never read another novel by a straight white male”, The Guardian

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